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Apple Settles Lawsuit With Biometric Sensor Company Valencell That Accused it of Stealing Technology for Apple Watch

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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11,344



Biometric sensor company Valencell has reportedly settled a three-year-old lawsuit against Apple that accused the tech giant of stealing its technology for Apple Watch.


Valencell filed the patent infringement lawsuit against Apple back in January 2016 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The lawsuit accused the Cupertino-based company of infringing on four of its patents, all related to heart rate sensing technology, as well as deceptive trade practices and breach of contract, following dealings Apple had with Valencell before the launch of the Apple Watch.

However, citing a Valencell source, well-connected endurance tech blog the5krunner reports that "Valencell's case against Apple has now been settled and neither is able to further comment."

Valencell originally claimed Apple solicited technical information and know-how under the false pretense of a licensing agreement for its PerformTek technology, despite having no real intention of actually licensing it.

The biometric company also accused Apple of deciding it was more financially beneficial to risk infringing on Valencell's patents than to license them, claiming that the practice was "consistent with the statement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that Apple has 'always been shameless about stealing great ideas.'"

Valencell had requested a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing future acts of infringement, as well as damages and an ongoing royalty rate for licensing purposes should a permanent injunction not be granted.

Valencell provides the optical heart rate monitoring and other biometric sensors in many third party devices. The company filed a similar lawsuit against Fitbit in January 2016, but that case is said to be still ongoing.

(Thanks, Neil!)

Update: MacRumors has confirmed the lawsuit was settled in September 2018. A copy of the dismissal is embedded below.


Article Link: Apple Settles Lawsuit With Biometric Sensor Company Valencell That Accused it of Stealing Technology for Apple Watch
 

MoreRumors?

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2018
884
668
"Valencell's case against Apple has now been settled and neither is able to further comment."
I know Tim really values privacy and I see it extends to lawsuits too. Just a like a wealthy person, in this case wealthy company, settling with hush money for stealing and keeping it quiet.
 

717

macrumors member
Dec 24, 2003
54
63
Amsterdam
Ideas can't be patented, so yeah, it's ok to steal them.

"consistent with the statement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that Apple has 'always been shameless about stealing great ideas.'"
 

joueboy

macrumors 68000
Jul 3, 2008
1,576
1,545
That's giving hope for Qualcomm, although Apple is willing to pay but for less.
 

0837990

Cancelled
Sep 13, 2017
246
385
The optical sensors manufactured by Valencell has always been the best in the business. Apple made an oopsie here and I’m glad they silently agreed.
 

needfx

Suspended
Aug 10, 2010
3,931
4,241
macrumors apparently
it appears you can't even pass gas in the tech industry without stumbling on some patented gas passing tech

//not taking sides here, just a general observation
 
Last edited:

AnthonyG6

macrumors regular
Sep 13, 2017
196
189
"Valencell originally claimed Apple solicited technical information and know-how under the false pretense of a licensing agreement for its PerformTek technology, despite having no real intention of actually licensing it."

I find this the most despicable action by Apple and I wonder how many other times they have done this but the company was either too small or too scared to take on Apple through the courts?
 

bollman

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2001
355
502
Lund, Sweden
"Valencell originally claimed Apple solicited technical information and know-how under the false pretense of a licensing agreement for its PerformTek technology, despite having no real intention of actually licensing it."

I find this the most despicable action by Apple and I wonder how many other times they have done this but the company was either too small or too scared to take on Apple through the courts?

I'd say pretty often, probably way too often.
It's not the first time we've heard about companies getting all warm and fluffy when Apple approaches them and want to "collaborate" on something. Then all of a sudden Apple just leaves with all the tech and left a note saying: "So sue us, our army of lawyers are paid more per day than you will ever earn in your lifetime, good luck!"
 

ipponrg

macrumors 68020
Oct 15, 2008
2,008
1,660
I guess this dismisses certain people on this forum from claiming Apple Watch technology was entirely Apple’s innovation
 
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Carnegie

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2012
722
1,716
Apple and Fitbit managed to get a lot of Valencell’s claims invalidated (by the PTAB) shortly before this settlement was reached.
 

sofila

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,086
1,189
Ramtop Mountains
Were you not aware that a membership to macrumors automatically makes one an expert in IP law, business, marketing and engineering?
Yes, I've seen in here fantastic and amusing curriculae, self improving and running in auto update mode. I have my favourite characters, but there's one that rules them all. He seems to have an outstanding long work career. Less than 60/70 years would not be enough to gain such a powerful knowledge. Sound, lights, screens technology, chip engineering , graphic cards, architecture, car projects, app developing, marketing, photography, IT consulting, management, problem solving...even pets care (I'm afraid to ask)
 

Carnegie

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2012
722
1,716
If you've had to settle then you're guilty !

That's not necessarily true.

More to the point here, we don't know what settled means. Valencell may have, after having most of its asserted claims invalidated, effectively dropped the case. Or it may have accepted a fairly modest offer from Apple which Apple made in order to get the situation resolved without further need of litigation.

It's worth noting that settlement was reached (or the court was informed that there was settlement of the issues) shortly after the last of 4 PTAB decisions regarding the 4 asserted patents. Those decisions for the most part went against Valencell. Of 53 challenged claims from 4 patents, all but 3 claims from 1 patent were found to be unpatentable.


https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00315/45

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00317/46

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00318/54

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00319/43
 

Kabeyun

macrumors 68030
Mar 27, 2004
2,778
5,203
Eastern USA
"Valencell's case against Apple has now been settled and neither is able to further comment."
I know Tim really values privacy and I see it extends to lawsuits too. Just a like a wealthy person, in this case wealthy company, settling with hush money for stealing and keeping it quiet.
Both Apple and Valencell are bound by NDAs according to the settlement terms, as are an untold number of others in settled matters, wealthy or not.

But facts won’t stop comments like yours.
 

Culman10

macrumors newbie
Nov 2, 2010
6
4
That's not necessarily true.

More to the point here, we don't know what settled means. Valencell may have, after having most of its asserted claims invalidated, effectively dropped the case. Or it may have accepted a fairly modest offer from Apple which Apple made in order to get the situation resolved without further need of litigation.

It's worth noting that settlement was reached (or the court was informed that there was settlement of the issues) shortly after the last of 4 PTAB decisions regarding the 4 asserted patents. Those decisions for the most part went against Valencell. Of 53 challenged claims from 4 patents, all but 3 claims from 1 patent were found to be unpatentable.


https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00315/45

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00317/46

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00318/54

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ptab-filings/IPR2017-00319/43


Thank you, someone researching and using actual DATA to backup an assessment of this action. Apple probably overstepped in a a few areas, and Valencell probably overstepped as well in their assertions. We don't really know how much and to just go on trolling is lame.
 
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